Radishes & Pink Martini



The other day an email dropped into my mailbox, with the subject line “You’re IN!”

This was from my friend Timothy Nishimoto, who is the percussionist and a major singer for my home-town (Portland, Oregon) band, Pink Martini. He gets me tickets to concerts when the band is in Paris if seats are free; there were few this time, and this was last-minute access.

When my daughter came home from school, flushed with the joy of being on spring break (an entire five weeks since she’d been on pre-spring break – French schools have a LOT of breaks), I pointed her in the direction of a snack, then told her she needed to dress up because we were going to Paris to see Pink Martini.

“M-o-o-m,” she huffed. “That’s adult music.”

My head snapped up from my serious job of rinsing radishes as part of her – and my – pre concert snack.  “You like Pink Martini, we get to go to Paris, you get to carry your new purse,” was my response.

Her frown persisted as she nibbled radishes with bread and butter, so recalcitrant she forgot to dip the radishes in fleur de sel first.

“We’ve got front row seats and passes backstage,” I said.  “You’ve got half an hour. If we have time when we get to Paris we’ll have sushi for dinner.”

That did the trick.  She ran upstairs, and twenty minutes later descended in a cloud of perfume, make up applied, accessories in place, her new “sac” hung gracefully over her young shoulder.  She looked entirely French. I don’t know how she does it.

Pink Martini gives a great concert. Each member of the fifteen-plus band is a classically trained musician; they sing in every language on the planet; they write much of their own music;  they lean towards the fun, sometimes goofy, almost always happy.



By the third song Fiona was standing up with the crowd, pulling me up alongside her to clap with gusto.  She didn’t stop moving for two hours, and when we went backstage, which at the Grand Rex is down about fifteen snaky flights of ancient stairs, she was star struck to meet everyone she’d just seen on stage.

We didn’t get the sushi; the radishes were our dinner.  She didn’t care, and neither did I. Every day includes dinner. Only those rare special ones include Pink Martini.

You are familiar with my favorite spring snack, but here is a little reminder:



1 bunch radishes, rinsed, root end trimmed, all leaves but one pretty one left on the radish

Unsalted butter

Freshly baked bread, white or whole wheat, cut into small, fairly thick slices

Fleur de sel

1.  Thickly butter a small slice of bread.  Dip a radish into the fleur de sel. Take a bite of radish, then a bite of buttered bread. Close your eyes – you’ll experience paradise.

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